The Note: Obama's Gamble

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Few of Obama's rivals expected this particular gamble; how else to explain their varied (and sometimes contradictory) responses? There's Sen. Joe Biden ("Johnny-come-lately," but do it privately, not publicly) and Gov. Bill Richardson ("I am glad that Senator Obama agrees with me"). And there's former senator John Edwards ("maximum" diplomacy -- wait, didn't Obama just say that?) and Sen. Chris Dodd ("dangerous and irresponsible"). Clinton said she agreed, generally: "If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured," she said in an interview with American Urban Radio News Network.

It's hard to imagine Republicans offering many kind words for Obama's plan at Sunday's ABC debate, though, in fairness, President Bush and most Republican candidates would probably have been comfortable with the bulk of what Obama said. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called it "a simplistic view of a very complex situation," and look for more Republicans to make similar points.

Of McCain's own campaign, the AP's Philip Elliott sees signs of his "slide" in the trappings. "His staff drastically reduced and his organization nearly broke, McCain flies commercial instead of on private jets, carries his own luggage and relies on supporters to drive him to events, including one that pulled away from a Rotary meeting last week with a flat rear tire," Elliott writes. "Yet, for all of McCain's woes rival campaigns aren't holding a political death watch just yet."

As for the national Republican front-runner, an interesting look today at what could be a key relationship for former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, R-N.Y.: his two decades of ties to Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News Channel. Ailes was Giuliani's media adviser during his first run for mayor, in 1989, and Giuliani officiated at Ailes' wedding, per The New York Times' Russ Buettner. Coincidence or not, The Hotline found Giuliani receiving more airtime on Fox News this year than any of his rivals. "Whether their friendship would ever affect coverage -- Fox insists that it has not and will not -- it is nonetheless the sort of relationship that other campaigns have noted, though none wanted to speak publicly for fear of offending the station," Buettner writes.

And lest you thought last week's feud was over, it appears the Clinton campaign is polling on the dueling answers from the CNN/YouTube debate. "The poll caller quoted directly the debate responses from Obama and Clinton and then asked me which candidate I agree with," Joe Judge, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party, told Iowa Independent. "Most of the position questions asked, actually almost all of them, were about Hillary Clinton and not about the other candidates."

Also in the news:

Feel like you're reading about a few too many Giuliani endorsements? That may be because he's found a novel way to boost his numbers -- recycling! Politico's Jonathan Martin noticed that a press release his campaign sent out this week touting the fact that his support "continues to grow" in central Iowa was true, but only technically: "Of the 19 names on the list of central Iowa backers, all but one had already been released back on June 11th when the campaign unveiled their statewide 'Iowa Leadership Team.' "

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